Parade of Lost Souls

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Fire I, originally uploaded by sharply_done.

Last Saturday my family took part in the Public Dreams Society’s wonderful Parade of Lost Souls event — think Day of the Dead on the Canadian west coast.

I have no time to write a proper review, but there’s no chance I could top this write-up anyway:

Multiple bands: a band of ghosts, dressed all over in white, clothes and faces both; a band of angels, white halos hovering above; a band of devils, glowing red horns sprouting from heads; drums, brass, woodwinds, bells; musical guides, playing increasingly cheerful melodies and rhythms, beckoning the crowd onto the street, forming a flowing river, a flowing river of people travelling, travelling from the field where death is remembered to the park where life, being alive, is celebrated.

… the journey becomes a celebration in the delight of life, with dancing in the streets. Giant puppets bob above the heads of crowd. Skeletal birds on stilts caw as they stalk through the throng. And everywhere, costumes, costumes, as people take the opportunity to dress up, to show off their creativity and effort, to become another character, to leave their mundane selves behind, even if only temporarily. Numerous witches, skeletons, vampires, zombies, pumpkinheads, and demons, but too, medieval and renaissance garb, 1920s flappers superheroes, fairies, robots, pirates, giant dice, Lego minifigs, wolves, cats, a microwave-head, a banana slug, even just rainbow wigs, feather boas, domino and glitter masks, facepaint, glowsticks and LEDs. Even several blocks beyond the central hub of fire and music and dancing, there is a steady back and forth flow of people, enjoying the freedom to walk down the middle of a road, to see and be seen.

And thanks to Tim Bray for demonstrating what strikes me as an essential new literacy skill: the artful construction of an effective Flickr search URL.

All in all, a genuinely magical night, and a welcome reminder why I love my city and my neighborhood. Kudos to the organizers, volunteers and the ten thousand-plus participants for making it happen.

One thought on “Parade of Lost Souls

  1. Looks like a stellar event. I clicked around in the Public Dreams Society’s site a bit — fascinating organization. It’s probably the kind of thing that would have been just ok as a municipal event, but it sounds like they really did it right.

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